Scouting report: Taylor's People's Park in Waukesha
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If someone mentions Taylor's, you likely think immediately of the jet-setter bar on the corner of Jefferson and Wells Streets that has accommodated Jazz in the Park patrons and the nighttime cocktail crowd since the mid-1990s.
But earlier this year, Dan and Jim Taylor pulled some of the elements of the Downtown Milwaukee hotspot into Waukesha's revitalized Downtown.
Taylor's People's Park, 337 W. Main St., mimics its sister with large windows and a bar as the focal point, but also adds some interesting art pieces, a large collage of doll and character heads behind the bar, and food.
While the restaurant promotes itself as an upscale restaurant and bar, a recent scouting visit showed the space to be more focused on alcohol than dinner. That seems just fine for this strip of Waukesha, which already boasts multiple restaurants and drinking establishments.
The atmosphere at Taylor's is casual, and it offers a decent wine, cocktail and beer list. The food menu here seems more of an afterthought, with appetizers and sandwiches, and a tiny dining area flanks the back of the space, with a few booths and tables surrounding the outskirts of the bar in the entry area.
The smoke-free bar was busy on a recent Thursday evening, as patrons who looked like they could have been picked up and dropped in from the Milwaukee location mingled. Aside from a few diners noshing on sandwiches and appetizers, most had found a cozy seat at the bar. For me, the décor was more conducive to libations than a light dinner.
Food selections at Taylor's are priced reasonably and focus on starters and sandwiches, with a few salads thrown in for good measure. The food is inexpensive and arrives rapidly, but don't expect anything extravagant nor above average
Selections include standard bar food fare: chicken wings, mozzarella sticks and artichoke and red pepper dip make the app list; the sandwich list offers burgers, chicken, grilled cheese and a tenderloin sandwich. All sandwiches come with fries (regular or "park fries" -- sweet potato fries -- for an extra buck) and a pickle spear.
The tenderloin sandwich is the most expensive item at $9.95, leaving your dinner bill well under $50 for two people with cocktails and appetizers, unless you venture into some of the more expensive signature sparklers or martinis that made the Downtown Milwaukee location's mark on the scene and also now make an appearance in Waukesha.
I am actually one of the new Chefs at Taylor's and have been there for 2 months now the other has only been there for a couple of months more than I. Yes most of the negative feedback here is definately from disgruntled former employees. I personally have over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry and the other Chef is about the same. We are dedicated to providing ALL of our patrons with a positively memorable dining experience. To call our sandwiches and salads ordinary is definately an understatement considering the quality of ingredients we use and unbeatable prices we offer them for. Apparently our role hasn't been quite defined to some of you so I will do it for you. We are out to provide the best burgers, sandwiches and salads around accompanied by great soups, appetizers and cocktails. What sets ours apart is every ingredient is fresh and of the highest quality. I am personally committed to put Taylor's on the map as a destination for ANYONE who is in Downtown Waukesha and wants a quick and delicious meal served by a dedicated and accomodating staff. I am also inviting the "Food Critic" to come out again and try some of our specials and new soups made by yours truly.
I guess this is why I never put much stock in these online comment sections! Who knows if the negative comments are from a disgruntled ex-employee or really from an actual customer? Just the same, the good ones could just be from the owner or a happy employee, too. I have been to People's Park many times, (I work within 2 blocks) and I have always enjoyed it. I think the food is far above average and that the service is friendly and attentive. Judging from the crowds they draw, many people agree.
Scorpion - Evey time I have been there (also probably 15 times or more) the burgers are cooked exactly how I order them -- medium rare. I have found the service to be great, and the food to be great as well. I'll admit its been about a month since I was last in there so maybe things have changed but the previous 8 months it was always great. Did they get rid of April Kelly, who was the chef when they opened?
I know that suburban restaurants rarely get a fair shake from East Side hipsters but I think your remarks about Taylors are a tad unfair. Review the place for what it is, which is a casual neighborhood bar, not whatever you think it should be. Its not trying to be the next "hip" place that will soon go out of business when the next "hip" place replaces it like so many east side ventures. Taylors is a great neighborhood pub serving great neighborhood pub fare. You'd be hard pressed to find a better "bar food" in Waukesha county. Somehow this site can rave about places like Hooligans, Soblemans, Five Guys, AJ Bombers, etc but when its in the suburbs that kind of food suddenly becomes standard food that doesnt rate "above average? The burgers at Taylors are up there some of the better burgers found in Milwaukee. The comment about the menu being an afterthought was kind of absurd too. While the menu features traditional bar food, most of the food is actually well thought out and creative. You selectively pick menu items to add to your argument that the food is typical by talking about "standard" appetizers like chicken wings (which are spectacular by the way), mozzarella sticks and artichoke and red pepper dip, but conveniently ignore Thai Chicken Skewers, crab cakes, homemade pot stickers, Prosciutto topped bruschetta, and crab spring rolls. You dismiss the sandwiches by generalizing them as burgers, chicken, grilled cheese and a tenderloin sandwich, making it seem as if no thought had been put into them. My favorite, the Central Park Burger has sauteed Sweet Onions, Mushrooms and a Gorgonzola & Goat cheese creamed Remoulade sauce. Hardly what I would describe as just a burger. Maybe I am being defensive because downtown Waukesha was lacking a great place like Taylors and I dont want this article to deter people from visiting. I guess I would say If you dont like the food that is fine but dont try to enhance your criticism by generalizing the menu and selectivity mentioning the standard appetizers while ignoring the not-so-standard ones.
Hey Blondecupcake, Are you single, girl? I like how you roll. PGG
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